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DVD and Blu-ray Releases for January 26th, 2010

January 26th, 2010

It's a soft week at the top, as the biggest release of the week is Michael Jackson's This Is It. There are a few other wide releases hitting the home market as well, but all the rest were box office disappointments of varying degrees. This Is It is a good movie and the DVD / Blu-ray are worth picking up, but they are not Pick of the Week material. For that we have to look to a smaller Canadian film, Pontypool, which earned excellent reviews while the DVD gets a rarely-awarded Puck of the Week.

B-Girl - Buy from Amazon
A lot of dancing movies have come out recently, some good, but most not. Where does this one fit in? Read our review to find out.

Blu-ray Releases - Buy from Amazon: Alone in the Dark II, Atonement, Fame, Give 'Em Hell Malone, Highlander: Immortal Edition, IMAX: Wild Ocean, Michael Jackson: This Is It, Paris, Texas, Pride & Prejudice, Saw VI, Soul Power, Surrogates, The Toolbox Murders, Whip It!, and WWII in HD
We are in a bit of slump for must-have Blu-ray releases. Most of this week's day-and-date releases were box office slumps, while there's not a lot of limited release or catalogue titles to pick up the slack.

The Boys are Back - Buy from Amazon
This film opened in limited release to reviews that were good, but struggled to find an audience in theaters. Now that it is debuting on the home market, will it be worth picking up? Or at the very least worth renting? Check out our review to find out.

Bright Star - Buy from Amazon
A period piece about John Keats. It was released early in Awards Season with excellent reviews and did quite well for a limited release, but nominations for major awards never materialized. (Perhaps it will pick up an Oscar nomination for best costumes.) Extras include a deleted scene and a trio of very short featurettes (combined running time is less than seven minutes). It is still worth checking out for most, picking up for fans of the genre.

Celtic Woman - Songs from the Heart - Buy from Amazon
A concert featuring the all-female ensemble vocal group that first started in 2004. This is their fifth concert film for the group and it's selling as well as ever. Also coming out this week is the CD for the same concert.

Dirty Jobs - Collection 5 - Buy from Amazon
Mike Rowe hosts this popular series from the Discovery channel. It's a great show with a lot of re-play value, enough to make up for the weak DVD releases. (The low price also helps.)

The Donner Party - Buy from Amazon
Crispin Glover in a movie about The Donner Party. This is a movie I want to see, but sadly the screener is late. I'll review it as soon as I can after it arrives.

Go Diego, Go!: Lion Cub Rescue - Buy from Amazon
The latest DVD release from the popular pre-school series hits the home market this week. To check out what episodes it includes, read our review.

I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell - Buy from Amazon
This movie did poorly with critics and with moviegoers, but that doesn't necessarily mean it is a bad movie. Maybe it was judged too harshly and it is an undiscovered gem. To see if this is the case, check out our review.

Inspector Lewis: Complete Set - Buy from Amazon
All 8 episodes from the Inspector Morse spin-off. Just 8 episodes for nearly $50 is a lot to ask for TV on DVD, but if you instead look at it as 8 TV movies, it's a good deal.

Jackie Chan Presents: Wushu - Buy from Amazon
Jackie Chan acts as executive producer for this martial arts movie. Hopefully it will live up to his name, but I won't know for sure until the screener arrives.

JONAS: I Heart Jonas - Buy from Amazon
While I'm too far outside the target demographic to Heart the Jonas Brothers, is the latest DVD good value for fans? Check out our review to find out.

Just Like the Son - Buy from Amazon
A petty thief kidnaps a young boy from an orphanage he has been mentoring and drives with him to his sister's in Texas. There are not a whole lot of reviews online, but the ones I've read have been mostly positive, if not enthusiastically so, and fans of indie cinema should check it out.

Little Ashes - Buy from Amazon
Thanks to the presence of Robert Pattinson, this story about the lives of artists Salvador Dali, Luis Buñuel, and Federico García Lorca earned more buzz than most limited releases. However, its reviews were terrible, especially for a limited release, and it never really found an audience. Extras on the DVD include behind-the-scenes, interviews, and audition tapes, but its appeal is very limited.

Lost City Raiders - Buy from Amazon
A treasure hunter movie set in the near future with people searching submerged cities looking for lost treasure. It's an interesting premise, but the few reviews online suggest the execution was flawed. The phrase, "So bad it's good" has been used.

MI-5: Volume 7 - Buy from Amazon
The long-running British spy series has its latest release in the United States. Like most imports, its price per minute is very high, but a lot of fans of the show will say it is worth it. If you've never seen the show, it is at least worth checking out, but start with a rental.

Michael Jackson's This Is It - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
When Michael Jackson died suddenly in June, he was arguably the most famous man on the planet. When Sony decided to spend $60 million to purchase the worldwide rights to the rehearsal footage for his comeback concert, some were skeptical. I was skeptical. However, this turned out to be a wise decision, as the reviews were amazing and the film became the highest grossing documentary film at the worldwide box office. Extras on the DVD include a trio of featurettes that run more than an hour and audition tapes for the backup dancers. The Blu-ray has some exclusive extras, including some BD-Live extras, some videos that were to be shown in the concert, and a making-of for these shorts. Granted, it does cost 50% more, which is a bit much, but I think a lot of fans of the King of Pop will be willing to spend the extra cash.

Parker Lewis Can't Lose: The Complete Second Season - Buy from Amazon
Loved this show when it first aired, but it has been too long since I've seen it. Meant to pick up season one when it came out, but I didn't get the chance. With only one season left, I expect to grab the complete series soon.

Pie in the Sky - Series 2 - Buy from Amazon
Richard Griffiths is best known here as Uncle Vernon Dursley in the Harry Potter franchise. However, he has quite a career in his native U.K., including starring in this show about a top chef who also solves crimes. It sounds like a really strange setup, but let me explain. He is a 25-year veteran detective who retired to become a chef, but who is "convinced" by his former boss to return to solve the occasional really tough case. An excellent show that is worth checking out for any fan of British mysteries.

Pontypool - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian zombie movie. There have been a lot of movies in this sub-genre over the years and it takes a lot for any one of them to stand out. Just being Canadian isn't enough. Fortunately, this film does do enough to stand out (I won't spoil it here). Extras on the DVD include an audio commentary track, the radio drama version of the movie, and three short films. Definitely worth picking up and a clear contender for Puck of the Week.

Prom Night in Mississippi - Buy from Amazon
A Canadian documentary about the attempt to end the segregated prom that takes place in Charleston, Mississippi. That's segregated as in Whites Only and Blacks Only. I would think it would be more acceptable to have Girls Only and Boys only. It would be a little weird, but a whole lot more acceptable than this. The film earned good reviews, and even some film festival awards, but never found an audience. I'm not sure it even found a distributor in the States. It is absolutely worth checking out.

The Red Green Show: The Infantile Years - Seasons 1991-1993 - Buy from Amazon
For a while I had wondered why they started the full season releases partway through the show's run. Now I know why. They were planning a massive nine-disc set for the early years. There's not a lot of extras here, but it is hard to argue with that price, especially on a per minute basis.

RiffTrax - Buy from Amazon: Plan 9 From Outer Space - Live!, Planet of the Dinosaurs, Voodoo Man, Shorts-tacular Shorts-stravaganza, and Wide World of Shorts
Five more DVDs featuring three movies and two collections of shorts, all presented with the kind of commentary these movies really deserve. This includes a live performance of Plan 9 From Outer Space, which is widely believed to be the worst movie ever made. (It's not, but it arguably has the largest product of its ineptitude and infamy. That is to say, it's hard to find a movie that is as bad as it that is also as well known. ... Maybe Transformers 2.) The movies / shorts here are all public domain, and many of them suffer from bad video, but the audio commentaries provide by Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy are clear and incredibly funny. Easily worth the money, and combined I would consider the five DVDs as a contender for Pick of the Week.

Saw VI - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Buy from Amazon
The franchise has clearly lost a lot of fans as this latest installment fell to under $60 million worldwide; however, its reviews were better than expected. Is it time to retire Jigaaw et al, or was its box office troubles due to overexposure? Won't know for sure until the screener arrives.

Southland: The Complete First Season - Buy from Amazon
Southland is a cop show that was a mid-season replacement that didn't really find an audience during its initial run, but NBC decided to give it a second season. However, before a single episode from that second season aired, they canceled it. There's been a lot of weirdness surrounding NBC this year. It did move to TNT and depending on how well it does there, and how well the DVD sells, it could be renewed.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Viking-Sized Adventures - Buy from Amazon
SpongeBob + Vikings should equal big fun. Does it? Check out our review to find out.

St. Trinian's - Buy from Amazon
Despite being a big Indie hit in the U.K., this film never found an audience here. Perhaps something was lost in translation. It's not high art, but sometimes lowbrow humor is exactly what one needs. The film was released on DVD in Canada months ago and has deleted scenes, outtakes, and a music video. The American DVD release has that, and a making-of featurette. It is not exactly a good movie, but it is an entertaining one and worth checking out.

Surrogates - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
A September release that earned mixed reviews and failed to live up to expectations. Does it deserve to find an audience of the home market, or will it again fail to live up to expectations? Check out our review to find out.

Tennessee - Buy from Amazon
Just a quick note that this movie is being re-released on DVD to take advantage of Mariah Carey's award-winning performance in Precious. It's not a great movie, but she did earn some praise for her acting in it.

Touched By an Angel - Buy from Amazon: Faith and Love
A lot of fans of this show are pissed that the studio has stopped releasing full-season sets and have instead reverted to "Best Of" releases. And I don't blame them. They are too expensive on a price per minute basis, although that's not a problem if you win our latest contest.

The Waltons Movie Collection - Buy from Amazon
This three-disc, six-movie collection wraps up the franchise's run on DVD. Now all nine seasons and seven TV movies have come out on the home market. The only release yet to come is a Full Series Megaset, which will probably debut later this year.

Whip it - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
Drew Barrymore's directorial debut earned amazing reviews but went nowhere at the box office. On the one hand, the reviews suggest that it is worth checking out. On the other hand, the weak box office numbers means the studio might have skimped out on the DVD / Blu-ray release. Won't know for sure until the screener arrives.

World War II in High Definition - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray
This program tells the story of 12 soldiers that fought in World War II and uses their words as written in their personal journals illustrated with footage culled from thousands of hours of previously unseen flim. While it says High Definition, not all sources are really able to shine in that resolution. That said, the TV series is actually cheaper on Blu-ray than on DVD, at least on at the moment, and it is worth picking up.

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown - Buy from Amazon
This TV special first aired in 1985 and was the 29th based on the very popular comic by Charles Schulz. It is actually based on a stage musical that was a huge hit Off-Broadway starting in 1967. Perhaps not as good as the classic Peanuts specials, but still worth checking out for most, picking up for fans of the franchise.


Filed under: Video Releases, Atonement, Pride & Prejudice, Little Ashes, Bright Star, Soul Power, Tennessee, Pontypool, Surrogates, Saw VI, Jackie Chan Presents: Wushu, Michael Jackson's This Is It, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, The Boys are Back, Whip It, St. Trinian's, Lost City Raiders, B-Girl, Just Like the Son, The Donner Party